Serious illness cover pays a tax-free lump sum if you are diagnosed with a specific illness covered by your policy. This form of cover is also called ‘critical illness cover’ and ‘specified illness cover.’
A serious illness could affect your ability to work. You may have to reduce your work hours significantly, resulting in a substantial drop in income. This drop in income could impact your ability to continue meeting your day-to-day expenses, such as mortgage and other loan repayments. If you are an employee and pay PRSI, the Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension may replace part of this lost income, however, the benefits are small.
Although it is often sold as an optional extra on a life insurance policy, it can also be sold as an insurance policy on its own. The monthly cost of a serious illness policy will depend on how old you are, how long you want the cover, level of cover, your health and if you smoke or not. You can arrange for your life insurance cover to be paid early if you are diagnosed as suffering from any of the illnesses covered by the policy. Alternatively, you could arrange the serious illness cover to be paid in addition to your life insurance cover.